Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter food stores

As the evening mist settles in the lower fields and the sun sets behind the mountain, there is something quite comforting about checking the stores and seeing them well-stocked and knowing that you'll have food on the table and a fire to keep you warm.


Over past year we have made a few jams: fig and vanilla; fig; red berries; rhubarb; raspberry. We are yet to make orange jam.


We have produced: mustard seed and gooseberry pickle; green tomato chutney; ginger, chili and marrow chutney; piccalilli; pickled figs; pickled walnuts; pickled peppers; and pickled chillies. We are yet to make date and apple chutney. We have jars of tomato frito and pisto from Luis' sister but fewer than usual due to her crop being wiped out by a hail storm earlier in the year.


We tend to buy in bulk where possible so having somewhere dry and cool to store things is important for us. We have a dedicated area for food storage which houses a freezer and the dehydrator, a series of shelves and racks. We also use a cool floor area to store crates of apple and squash.


Luis has just returned from the Matanza and as usual loaded up with supplies of eggs, apples, pulses, potatoes, onions and oranges. The oranges (14kg) are particularly welcome as they are from a farm in the south of Spain which do not use dye or wax to improve the appearance of the fruit unlike many commercial oranges. We have ordered 10 kilos of Kiwis from a local organic kiwi farm which will last us through until spring if kept cool.


Our dried herbs and infusions are now ready for processing and will hopefully last us through until the fresh plants are available along with the other dehydrated produce such as figs and apples.


With plenty of fresh vegetables in the garden we are set for winter and look forward to making nourishing food fit for a king on a winter's day. We will cook, sometimes in bulk, more hearty soups, casseroles and stews and use dried herbs and spices, our home-made stock cubes and home produced balsamic vinegar to flavour and enhance.


It is times like these you really do see the fruits of your labours and welcome the storage space...oh and a warm cosy fire.


10 comments:

  1. I have dreams of a dedicated food storage area! At the moment all my jars are stored in a rented garage in the next village, which is a right pain when you run out of jam for your morning roll!

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    1. Good exercise though Andrea - a jog there and back and you can have an extra spoonful. ;-)

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  2. Oh dear, Andrea ... and I moan if I have to go out to the old bakery where my jars are stored! I had never thought of buying kiwi's in bulk and storing through the winter. I wonder if I can get them cheaply anywhere around here. And how do you make your stock cubes? I make liquid stock from carcasses but have to revert to bought ones when they run out (or I am cooking for veggie friends).

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    1. Here you go: http://ianandluis.blogspot.com.es/2009/09/food.html simple to make and you can vary the ingredients - freeze and ready to use.

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    2. Merci - I might give those a go. I already freeze herbs in ice cube trays so this would be a natural progression.

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  3. Lots of lovely sounding stuff. Not made my own balsamic vinegar but sounds good so I shall try it. We have a very cold utility room which is useful for food storage. I keep trying to work out how to develop that bit of the house to have more light and insulation without losing the cold bit! Something of a challenge.
    Reading this makes me very excited about future when we have got more stuff going in the garden in the coming year. I loved having our own seeds, herbs and other flavourings from the Manchester allotment and was surprised by how strong the flavours were because of being so fresh, I guess, even though grown in cold Manchester

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  4. Lovely photos of a kinder and slower world that I wish to be in. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Karen, I hope you one day find yourself a kinder and slower world. It will happen.

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  5. Have you made your marmalade yet, if not the recipe that never lets me down is Nigel Slater marmalade, a perfect set every time. I have made the first of next years this week, our farmers market had the Seville oranges in early, bought more today so will be making marmalade over Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Anne - yes Luis made about 4 kg last week - we must look out for the Nigel Slater recipe.

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